He may have been a bit off on the release date, but that didn’t stop Travis Scott’s new album “Astroworld” from being certified gold just a week after its Aug. 3 release.
In the opening track “Stargazing,” there’s a bunch of annoying popping sounds that go off in between the beats of the song.
I think Scott might have been going for a record-crackle sound, which are noises that artists like XXXTENTACION and My Bloody Valentine are notable for producing.
The beat at the end of “Stargazing” is stupid crazy though. Major props to his producers.
The best thing about the second track, “Carousel,” is Frank Ocean. It was very refreshing to hear him on a feature since he doesn’t deal out too many of them. Too bad it’s over a beat that’s mostly a Beastie Boys sample looped over and over again.
After the third track, there was a pattern of good features. Scott put every other artist to good use, the only person that seemed to be slacking was Scott himself.
Drake, The Weeknd and Pharrell Williams are among the rhythm and blues giants that made contributions to “Astroworld.” By the end of the album, their verses are the ones that I enjoyed the most. I don’t even remember what Scott’s voice sounds like. But like I mentioned, the production on the album as a whole is wild.
“Yosemite” sounded like a beat that could have fit perfectly on Justin Timberlake’s album “Future Sex / Love Sounds.”
The guitar loop played throughout the song by producer Turbo put me in the mood to walk the edge of a beach during a sunset.
There’s really no safe assumptions when it comes to predicting what the next song is going to sound like. The album halfway in has so far been either a hype song, or a slow song.
The beat for “Wake Up” carried the wide landscape of instrumentation that The Weeknd always flourishes in. This includes beaming synths pouring over deep bass drops that intentionally sound like they were recorded through a megaphone, in the shower. It was no surprise that Scott put him on this cut.
The music’s attack on your ears toward the end of the song might tempt you to turn down your headphones, but it’s worth listening to it all the way through at least one time.
As far as overall sound, Scott has been successful at adopting his predecessors’ engineering tricks. Much of the production on this album is leaning toward the “lo-fi” genre and industrial noises shaped out by West’s music.
Though that blueprint leads “Astroworld” in the right direction, it ends up sounding like a discounted version of whatever theme Scott was trying to build on.
Contemporaries of Scott like Tyler, The Creator and Lil Pump have recognizable voices and music personas.
On “Astroworld,” it wasn’t clear who Scott was trying to be other than someone saying anything that appeals to his audience.
The aspect that ultimately doomed this album was his inability to make the transition from online marketing genius to recognizable vocal performer.
The album could have had a different name, less cringeworthy cover art and it still wouldn’t change the theme or atmosphere of the 17-track compilation.